While Shake’s favorite hip hop duo has always been OutKast, mine has always been Clipse. Coincidentally, both groups haven’t put out an album in years for varying yet similar reasons: one member has changed their ways. No Malice has turned to religion, and André 3000 simply doesn’t care about rapping these days.
One of my favorite bootlegs ever was the shelved true debut of Clipse, Exclusive Audio Footage. Originally slated to release back in 1999, the album was shelved as its first single “The Funeral” failed to make a significant impact on the charts.
So the album would eventually make its way to the Internets, during a time where the only way one could grab the whole thing was by sourcing and downloading each song individually (.ZIP, .RAR and torrent files weren’t really a thing back then). Of course, we know the rest of the story: the duo bounced back with Lord Willin’, went through label hell again, dropped one of the best mixtapes of the Aughts in We Got It For Cheap Vol. 2, released two more albums and ultimately went on hiatus while No Malice and Pusha T pursued their solo endeavors.
In a recent interview, No Malice shed some light on what really happened with Exclusive Audio Footage. “Sylvia Rhone [current CEO of Vested in Culture/Epic Records] signed us to Elektra but [the album] didn’t go anywhere at the time because, at that time, the hot items was Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott and all the focus was on them,” he says.
“But I will say, on behalf of Sylvia Rhone, she played fair, didn’t keep us around, stuck and signed,” he continued. “She could have done that. She liked our talent and felt like we could go somewhere else and get another deal.”
Malice would also tell a story about “Grindin’,” how they managed to navigate through their “coke rap” label, and more.
For those that didn’t know, some of the beats from Exclusive Audio Footage found life again through other artists, most notably Jadakiss‘ “Knock Yourself Out” (which was originally from “Hear Me Out”).